Lawn care can be tricky to manage, particularly for inexperienced homeowners. Aside from knowing when to mow your lawn and how much, how to take care of your garden, and general landscaping knowledge, there’s also the tricky issue of understanding fertilizer best practices. While fertilizer can be complex, there are a few key things you need to know. Here is your complete guide to fertilizer essentials.
What is fertilizer?
Fertilizer is a chemical compound added to your soil to improve your grass and soil health. The key ingredient in fertilizer is nitrogen, with the addition of phosphorus and potassium. In varying ratios and mixtures, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium combine to make the fertilizer that your yard needs to stay green and healthy.
Nitrogen is important in fertilizer because it is a major component of chlorophyll, which plants use to convert sunlight into energy for photosynthesis. Without nitrogen fertilizer, many lawns would be lacking the nutrients needed for their grass to have enough chlorophyll to be healthy and fight off lawn diseases.
Phosphorus and potassium are also important in a balanced fertilizer. Phosphorus, while difficult for plants to absorb, helps them to convert and use other essential nutrients. Potassium is used by plants to move water and nutrients, affecting the rate of photosynthesis.
While nearly all types of soil lack the nitrogen needed to keep grass green, not all lawns necessarily need additional phosphorus and potassium, so check with a local lawn care company to see what the status of your lawn would be.
Where is fertilizer applied?
Fertilizer is applied to your soil, and whether you’re a farmer, orcharder, or homeowner, your soil needs nitrogen for plants and vegetation to grow in it.
Fertilizer is most commonly spread across your residential lawn, rather than being injected into the soil directly. The method you choose for applying your fertilizer will be dependent on your soil, the fertilizer you use, your objective, and what you’re trying to grow.
How do I apply fertilizer?
There are a few different tools and methods for applying fertilizer. Generally, the larger your lawn, the further you want your spreader to reach, creating less work for you. The different tools, in order from furthest reach to smallest, are
- Broadcast spreader
- Drop spreader
- Handheld broadcast
- Handheld battery spreader
- Spreading by hand
Before you begin fertilizing, make sure that your lawn has been well-watered in the last 48 hours, but is dry upon application. When applying fertilizer, always start with the perimeter and then apply to the middle. Overlap slightly with areas that you’ve already applied fertilizer to so that you don’t end up with any missed strips. After the fertilizer has been evenly spread, water your grass lightly to wash it off the top of the grass and into the soil.
When should you apply your fertilizer?
Your first fertilizer application for the year should be done in early to mid spring, typically sometime in April. If you apply your fertilizer too early, you put your lawn at risk of developing diseases. Once you’ve done your initial fertilizer application, you are good to wait another four to six weeks before your next treatment.
Fertilizer is essential for any lawn to look lush, green, and flawless. If fertilizing your own lawn still sounds intimidating after all of this information, contact Edge for help with lawn care in Beaverton and other regions.